Ancestry - New WW-2 German Records Added

Discussion in 'Axis Units' started by hucks216, May 7, 2020.

  1. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Not strictly relevant for most on this forum but for those interested Ancestry in Germany have now added 2.4 million cards for those soldiers killed between 1939-1948 although I am led to believe that those cards relating to late 1944 don't exist but I have yet to check any for that period so can't confirm. As you can see each card provides a wealth of details including service information including field unit, their basic training unit and dogtag details and in some cases how they were killed.
    The first image shows a memorial card that is in my collection followed by the mans entry in Volksbund. The last two images show the card file that has now been added to Ancestry. As you can see from the very basic details on the memorial card, these newly added card files add a great deal of unknown information.

    Mayr 001.jpg mayr vb.jpg Mayr, Josef (1).jpg Mayr, Josef (2).jpg
     
  2. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that - do you have to sign up for Ancestry in Germany? Or can a UK account access them?
     
  3. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    I could search through my UK account but you need to have the Worldwide membership to view - or a German membership I guess
     
  4. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I've just battled through both the German and UK sites. It seems it is slightly cheaper to sign up for German membership than go for the Worldwide one.
     
    Lindele likes this.
  5. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    I don't usually bother with Ancestry as it had little that I needed but this has now made me reevaluate that. I am currently on a 14 day trial but it looks like from the UK account it will be £20 a month to enable the worldwide option so will look into what happens if I sign up via the German branch.
     
  6. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Answered my thoughts in my last post.

    And just to add, it has cards for all 3 branches of the Wehrmacht, the Waffen-SS and Polizei. I haven't tried for other branches killed such as RAD etc as I don't have anything to those.
     
  7. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    I would be interested to find my uncle Rudolf (Rudi) Schaefer.
    Stefan.
     
  8. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    I already had a yearly one on UK Ancestry so I just replaced that with a worldwide subscription (about £10 a month extra). If you sign up to the German one it is 10 Euros a month.

    I have put quite a few through and getting about a 60-75% hit ration. My real life job is as a database architect and it makes me want to weep knowing what I could do with the data - and how Ancestry seemingly are clueless on how people want to use it. For example, I wanted to see all casualties from a certain unit for a certain day - all the data is there but not searchable in that way. Neither can I download the data and create my own, much more useful database (which maybe why we're not allowed to :D).
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  9. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    What is his date of birth or date of death?
     
  10. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

  11. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    I have had a similar hit rate with the latest date so far being July 1944 and none for 1945.

    The cause of death and original burial details is a bonus where they are listed and has already helped narrow down the location for a regimental cemetery in Russia for one collector of grave photos. And another collector friend in Germany has finally found out where his grandfather was originally buried despite the Red Cross, Volksbund & WASt not giving him that information in the past, and yet it is right there on the back of a card. He has been able to pass it on to his aunt & uncle who have spent the last 76 years wondering if their father's body had just been discarded or thrown in a mass grave when in reality he received a proper burial from his comrades although since then it hasn't been recovered.
     
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks to your heads-up, I found yet another relative (KIA 1943) to add to the one who was MIA at Stalingrad (no card). It is indeed pleasing to note that unit info is accessible, not the case with Volksbund as you've highlighted.

    I also found 2 distant relatives, despite one record suffering from incorrect transcription of POB.
     
  13. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    I revise my percentage of hits to well below 50% based on 100+ checks. There doesn't seem to be any correlation to dates - some are related to transcription errors of which I've found a few but unfortunately Ancestry's ability to search on other fields is poor; there is no way to order on columns.
     
  14. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    What is your ratio like compared to them being in (or not) the Volksbund? I have noticed that some are listed in Volksbund (which is helpful for getting a date of birth, if they have it correct) but not in the cards.
     
  15. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    I still have to ask my brother (in hospital at present).
    What I have though: birth date: 1914/1915
    death date:1943 near Smolensk

    Stefan.
     
  16. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    The town of birth will also help as well as a full date of birth to check the Gefallen cards. There are two Rudolf Schäfer's in Volksbund born in 1915 and killed in 1943 (one born in Gernsheim and the other in Buchheim), none for a year of birth of 1914 and no Schaefer's for either 1914 or 1915.
     
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The relative identified through Volksbund has no card; the other whose card I found isn't listed on Volksbund.
     
  18. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    I am only searching Italy casualties so most (but not all) are in the Volksbund. I did notice when running a search with no parameters it comes back with 1.456 million results which is obviously significantly less than all German military casualties. However, the blurb states there are 2.4 million cards? I'm sure quite a few are due to transcription errors - with the exact date of birth it would be easier to narrow down to check but, at the risk of beating a dead horse, ancestry doesn't give you that option, just the year.
     
  19. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    I wonder if the 2.4m figure given in the blurb refers to the total number of cards rather than the number of soldiers listed, so if a particular soldier has 3 different cards listed for him that can be accessed by clicking on the forward arrow when the card is viewed does that count as 3 cards or just one considering it is for a single soldier? Do they count the front and reverse side of the same card as two? Judging by the difference between the two figures it looks like the might.

    For the errors in transcription, considering they are making some errors with what they are doing can you imagine how much worse it could be if they had to decipher and input all the different unit terms, both field units and training units? It would make for a greater search option but I can understand why they haven't gone down that road.

    As for using the date of birth, I'm able to input the full date of birth for this database although I only get the year option if I try and search UK records.
    Screenshot 2020-05-10 12.32.jpg
     
    Guy Hudson likes this.
  20. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    That's a good point about the cards. Some casualties have two or three.

    Fair point about the units but that is why most data sets have a series of data cleansing operations. It is relatively easy to do mass updates and identify outliers. However, the exact date of birth should be selectable and I think this would allow at least some surname transcription errors to be identified. If you had access to the Volksbund and this dataset you could probably automate some of it.

    Anyway, I digress - this source is great but at the same time frustrating - if you know what I mean! :D
     
    hucks216 likes this.

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